Thursday, June 21, 2012

Finding Another Place

Photo: WikiPedia Commons

Recently I stumbled across “Another Place,” an installation of sculptures by Antony Gormley. I’d been doing an internet search involving the words “immigrants” and “hope.”

If you’ve never heard of “Another Place,” take a look at this link to the local council.

Or better, yet, click to see a video.

Artist Gormley shows the mix of hope, fear, anticipation, and dread that all immigrants feel. He does so by placing cast-iron figures along Crosby Beach near Liverpool, England.
Why is this work so successful?

·      The figures are anonymous. Even though they are casts of the artist, they’re rough and indistinct. Some are covered in barnacles.

·      The figures are rooted in place, yet the surroundings flow in and out, always changing.

·      The figures look out onto the future. We catch them poised, ready to move forward.

·      The place, the sounds, the moving tides all add to a sense of mixed emotions, rushing all around and even completely covering some figures at high tide.

I’m not an immigrant, but I’ve spent a portion of my writing life studying and interpreting the immigrant experience. And based on what I’ve learned, I’d say “Another Place” beautifully captures the essence of what it means to leave the familiar behind and cast oneself onto the waves of a new life.

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